From Minnesota Public Radio (Paul Huttner):
For the first time ever, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued an El Nino Watch. CPC’s new advisory system is designed to give states and communities advance warning months in advance for seasonal weather changes and potential effects. Tropical Pacific SST’s have warmed to about 0.5 degrees above average. El Nino is defined when Pacific SST’s remain at or above the +0.5 degree threshold for 3 consecutive months and 5 overlapping seasons. Various CPC computer models indicate Pacific SST’s could warm to 1 to 2 degrees above average by next January. This would make for a moderately strong El Nino event.